Has America been kidnapped?

I shot this as I rode my bike around NYC documenting life during Covid — copyright Gayle Kirschenbaum

(Originally published in The Village Sun)

I remember when Americans stood side by side proudly waving our flag. I was among them. We lined West Street, the direct throughway that rescue vehicles took to get to Ground Zero. We came out every day for several months. I didn’t have far to go to get there. My home was on this busy and crucial road, just 30 blocks north of the Twin Towers.

I stood out there on 9/11/2001, witnessing our country being attacked with my dog by my side. I lifted her to run into my…

What I discovered stunned me.

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

(Originally published in The Ethel from AARP)

I’m trying. I’m not giving up. I know I’m on Medicare (just joined) and closer to my death than my birth. I’ve spent more time living alone than being with someone. But I’m working on it. I’m working on finding someone by using all the possibilities out there — OkCupid, Tinder, Bumble, Match and now the New York Review of Books. And it’s all because I bumped into someone I went to college with back in the 1970s, Bob, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Bob was walking…

How to travel safely and still have fun.

I shot this one early morning in Key West, Florida — Copyright Gayle Kirschenbaum

When I boarded the Amtrak train on February 28th for a seven hour journey to Charlottesville, Virginia from New York City word was out about the coronavirus which was running rampant in Wuhan, China.

Since people were concerned about it coming to America, many New Yorkers were already avoiding our local and loved Chinatown fearing Chinese travelers were bringing the deadly virus back. …

She was definitely not herself

Copyright Gayle Kirschenbaum

This story was first published at AARP Ethel.

Her head was bobbing up and down. Was she throwing up, I wondered? I enlarged the video and saw that she was on the floor trying to get up. She was pulling the bottom drawer out of her desk, which was filled with filled papers. It was a foot and half away from her bed. With one arm, she was trying to lean on it to lift herself up.

I had no idea how she ended up down there. She had told my brother and me the…

How my relationship to graffiti transformed from the 70s to now.

©Gayle Kirschenbaum — Photo of Ryan The Wheelbarrow’s Graffiti Art

Was figuring out recently what I could show a visitor to South Florida during the pandemic besides the ocean and nature. How about art, I thought? Then I remembered my past couple of visits over the last few years to Wynwood, Miami. It’s an art district which was a downtrodden industrial area that is now where graffiti artists create new work and display old. I asked a local friend what he thought and he couldn’t agree more. So off we went. …

With Delta Airlines

Selfie shot July 30, 2020

(This was originally published in The Village Sun)

In April I canceled my flight scheduled to visit Mom in Florida in May for Mother’s Day. COVID was taking the life out of New York City, my beloved home. My primary doctor e-mailed, “Don’t go down there unless you must. You’ll be putting your mother at risk.”

As Mom was four months away from her 97th birthday, I heeded his advice. Although, my mother and I had a horrific relationship for decades, driving me to leave home at 16 years old, by the time I hit my 50s…

Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash

(This was first published in The Jewish Journal)

“Why do you want to be alone with me?” Irwin wrote back.

Although it was an email I could hear and feel his anger.

“I’d love you to voice Dad’s WWII letter for my film,” I wrote back.

He instantly replied, “I’m sorry I signed the release. I don’t want to have anything to do with your film.”

Before I finished reading his response, my head started to throb, something, which hadn’t happened in decades.

Why was Irwin saying this and now? I was just about to finish my movie, a deeply…

Photo by Gayle Kirschenbaum (I shot this at Lake Placid)

(This was first published in The Adirondack Daily Enterprise)

I’m a New Yorker — a Manhattanite. After spending four months in my apartment sheltering in place, then witnessing the looting by opportunist and career criminals of businesses that were barely surviving due to being closed, it was time for me to leave my beloved city and get into nature.

I leased a condo in Lake Placid, rented a car and hit the road.

As soon the mountains became visible, I pulled over and got out. I stood like a kid in a candy store taking it all in. As I…

Originally published in The Village Sun

Selfie taking looking out my window

They ask how I’m doing. “How is life in confinement?” They want to know as they’re also experiencing it. Some are alone like myself. Others are with a spouse, a lover, a roommate, parents, siblings, pets including cats, dogs, birds and fish. . Some have palatial apartments with views of Central Park, the Hudson River or the Statue of Liberty. Others are cooped up in a one-room apartment with only two windows facing an airshaft as I am. Many have discovered new recipes; some are learning a new language or finishing a draft of…

How I Launched My Career as a Fine Art Photographer

Self portrait — circa 1979 — Copyright Gayle Kirschenbaum

“That’s a crap shot,” Dad said looking at my 8 x 10 black and white photograph I shot of people in the distance walking away.

I was eager to share with my parents my photos I had not only shot but developed and printed in the darkroom in school.

“What about this one?” I asked as I presented him with a landscape image.

“Another crap shot,” he continued. “Who cares about this background? No one’s in it.”

For Dad a good picture was your subject facing you as they stood…

Gayle Kirschenbaum

Emmy award winning filmmaker, TV producer, TED speaker, writer, photographer with a wanderlust. Teach forgiveness as seen in my film LOOK AT US NOW, MOTHER!

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